June 18, 2024

‘It Just Means More’ In Memphis Tennis Road Win

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In a thrilling encounter that underscored their resilience and competitive spirit, the No. 25 Memphis men’s tennis team edged past the Arkansas Razorbacks with a nail-biting 4-3 victory on Sunday afternoon at the Billingsley Tennis Center. This impressive win marks the Tigers’ sixth triumph of the season, and notably their third against Power Five opposition, enhancing their record to 6-1.

Memphis head coach Chris Doerr was full of praise for his team’s grit, particularly in the face of an animated crowd and quick-playing courts. “It was an incredible match from the Tigers,” Doerr reflected. “We were up against tough conditions, but we showed a lot of toughness and pride. This win is a testament to what this school and city represent.”

The Tigers set the tone early by clinching the doubles point, a feat they have accomplished in all their victories thus far. Freshman Moritz Kudernatsch made a notable debut, pairing up with Harry Rock to secure a 6-4 win at No. 2. The spotlight then shifted to the top court, where Charlie Barry and Pablo Alemany emerged victorious in a tightly contested 7-6(3) match, propelling Memphis into singles play with a valuable lead.

Coach Doerr commended Kudernatsch for his performance under pressure, serving “like a champ” with Rock providing essential support. However, singles play saw the Razorbacks push back hard, initially claiming three of the first four matches. Juan Zabala’s straight-sets win from the fifth line kept Memphis in contention, and the match teetered at 3-2 in favor of Arkansas after 117th-ranked Gerard Planelles edged out Alemany in two tiebreak sets.

The tension mounted as Kudernatsch delivered a straight-set win on court six, leaving the outcome resting on the shoulders of Harry Rock at court two. In a dramatic third-set tiebreak, Rock overcame a 4-1 deficit, showcasing remarkable composure to claim six of the final seven points, securing the match and a memorable victory for the Tigers.

In singles, Juan [Zabala] continues to impress, and Moritz’s ability to close out the match was incredible,” said Doerr. “Harry’s comeback in the tiebreak exemplifies the fighting spirit of our team. I’m incredibly proud and looking forward to our next challenge.

Results Summary:

#25 Memphis 4, Arkansas 3

Singles:

1. #117 Gerard Planelles (ARK) def. Pablo Alemany (MEM) 7-6(2), 7-6(2)

2. Harry Rock (MEM) def. Bozo Barun (ARK) 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(5)

3. Melvin Manuel (ARK) def. #80 Pau Fanlo (MEM) 6-3, 6-2

4. Stefanos Savva (ARK) def. Maxime Dubouch (MEM) 6-4, 6-3

5. Juan Zabala (MEM) def Benedikt Emesz (ARK) 6-4, 6-3
6. Karlo Kajin (MEM) def. Mortiz Kudernatsch (MEM) 7-5, 7-6(5)

Doubles

1. Charlie Barry / Pablo Alemany (MEM) def. Jared Horwood / Melvin Manuel (ARK) 7-6(3)
2. Harry Rock/ Moritz Kudernatsch (MEM) def. Gerard Planelles / Alan Sau Franco (ARK) 6-4
3. Connor Smillie / Jake Sweeney (ARK) def. Sam Reeve / Pau Fanlo (MEM) 6-4

Order of Completion: 

Doubles (2,3,1)
Singles (4,3,5,1,6,2)

What’s Next?

The Tigers’ next endeavor is a home fixture against No. 22 Mississippi State at Leftwich on Wednesday at 1 p.m., where they will look to build on their momentum and strive for another prestigious victory to add to their already impressive season.

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